John Cheever's picture

John Cheever

USA flag (1912 - 1982)

John Cheever was an American novelist and short story writer, sometimes called "the Chekhov of the suburbs" or "the Ovid of Ossining." His fiction is mostly set in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the suburbs of Westchester, New York, and old New England villages based on various South Shore towns around Quincy, Massachusetts, where he was born.

His main themes include the duality of human nature: sometimes dramatized as the disparity between a character's decorous social persona and inner corruption, and sometimes as a conflict between two characters (often brothers) who embody the salient aspects of both--light and dark, flesh and spirit. Many of his works also express a nostalgia for a vanishing way of life, characterized by abiding cultural traditions and a profound sense of community, as opposed to the alienating nomadism of modern suburbia.

Genres: Literary Fiction
Non fiction
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Anthologies containing stories by John Cheever
Short stories
The Enormous Radio [short story] (1947)
Torch Song (1947)
The Five-Forty-Eight (1954)
Oh Father, Father, Why Have You Come Back? (1959)

National Book Award for Fiction Best Book winner (1958) : The Wapshot Chronicle
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Best Book winner (1979) : The Stories of John Cheever

Books about John Cheever
Home Before Dark (1984) by Susan Cheever